Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Finally time to post about the last few days and the Ore 2 Shore. Bad luck struck again in Michigan when I flatted about 3 miles into the 48 mile race last Saturday. A short rocky downhill was all that it took to puncture and make a hole big enough to let tire sealant spray out on every wheel revolution. It took me quite a bit longer than expected to get it fixed when you find a used CO2 cartridge in your seat bag and you have to beg for a pump or CO2 from another racer. Lesson learned...always repack your seat bag with new CO2 cartridges before each race!!! This had been the seat bag I used at the Lumberjack 100 when I ripped another tire apart. My bad!!! Here is the long version of my race. I started dead last in the field after my tire/CO2 issue, helped another fast racer(Chad Sova)a mile or less later up the course after he broke a chain. Since I was so graciously helped by a fellow WORS racer who stopped and gave me his CO2's, I repaid my good fortune by getting Chad going again. Dead last again with the broom wagon(ATV) waiting patiently for us as the rider of the ATV ate his lunch we final started to roll again on the course. It's amazing how many things you see when you don't have your head down going totally anaerobic. We had standing ovations through Ispheming and at every aid station for the first couple we had volunteers yelling for us to take their cups of water and/or fruit. I think that they were probably glad to know that the broom wagon/course sweep ATV was close behind us and they could pack it in and go home shortly after we passed. Sort of felt like a party in our back of the pack position with the racers who were having lots of fun from my observations. Our pace was good and the course very enjoyable from my new perspective being buried in the field. The only sketchy thing about starting dead last was the overtaking of the racers as we came though the pack at a faster pace. I went from 663rd or further back, since DNF's weren't listed in the results up to 192nd overall. On a few occasion my heart rate spiked, especially on the downhills as we tried to cautiously get by people. The knee deep lake we rode through in the first half of the course was a disaster as Chad and I both got drenched along with soaking a few innocent victims who became overly vocal towards us. Words that I won't type or say out-loud were yelled in our direction. The power-line hike-a-bike that I could see for a good distance before actually getting to it looked like rush hour in Chi-Town. People 3 to 4 wide pushing their bikes was an experience and somewhat relaxing as we marched in unison to the top only to find an ATV with ice cold Gatorade being handed out. It looked like a rest area, so we took advantage and re-hydrated with a cold one. From the top it was smoother sailing as we made our way towards the 510 Rd climb and hopefully my bottle hand-ups. Being way off pace because of the flat meant that my support may have left after waiting and not seeing me come through at my normal interval behind my faster Adventure 212/Specialized teammates. To my surprise, as the climb started they were still in position and hand-ups taken to get me to the finish. The climb was easier than I remember from past editions of this race when I had been only a week out from racing a 24 hour solo event. The last 21 miles we had rode the day before so no surprises were waiting on the course. I basically rode tempo in as Chad and I had separated at the bottom of the 510 climb when I had come up on one of my A212/Specialized teammates who had crashed. Just before the end with about 10 miles to go I helped out another friend from my hometown who needed a chain tool at one of the last aid stations. Once moving again I navigated the dreaded downhill sand pit and finished strong after the last section of pavement that takes you to the arena for the finish. No glory for this racer, but lots of fun and I did actually see Lake Superior for the first time from the posted overlook on the course. Usually at this overlook I'm riding with my head down on the handlebars trying to stay on someones wheel about to blow-up and you never notice the surrounding picturesque landscape that makes this event spectacular.

Another great weekend with my team and friends who make mountain biking the sport it is. Thanks to Adventure 212 and Specialized for the great support again this season. Only 8 more race weekends in a row now before the next break in the schedule.

Moving forward to this past week it has been what I would label as a hyper week with no time to breath. Tuesday, Chris Peariso and I headed to De Pere at 6am to meet with the Specialized rep to road ride and meet about next years team plans. The road ride was great until the last few miles where I almost became a road cycling casualty when a delivery truck failed to stop coming out of a business parking lot. The driver looked right at us and proceeded to roll into the street and thankfully I accelerated and swerved along with Pete just in time to miss the large front bumper by about a foot or less to spare. The driver came to a screeching stop about 6 feet out into the road and I'm hoping that his close call with us will make him more aware in the near future when he's driving and sees cyclists on the road. Just hoping! After our heart stopping ride we re-fueled and Chris and I made our way to the Reforestation Camp in Suamico to ride the upcoming WORS course for this weekends race. Two good laps and we are both ready to have good races at an event that I enjoy being part of every year. After a long Pro-like riding day it was good to get home and have some play time with the family. My recovery ride Wednesday with my daughter included a stop for ice cream during our hour long spin which is why cycling is such a great activity to get your family and friends into. Pedal on...

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